Heller Salzboden, abgestorbene Bäume und eine rote Dünenlandschaft

The magic of supposed emptiness

With the highest dunes in the world, Sossusvlei presents itself as an imposing desert landscape. A special feature is the fusion of red dunes and white salt pans. This seemingly endless dune landscape stretches out in the south-western part of Namibia in the middle of Africa's largest national park - the Namib-Naukluft. Despite the meaning of the word Namib, which can be described as "a place where there is nothing", Sossusvlei is a clear attraction. Surrounded by fascinating beauty and a magical atmosphere, an unforgettable adventure awaits you in this area.

Written by: Dana Leidel Last updated at: April 12, 2024
Eine Karte auf der Sossusvlei markiert ist

Best time to travel


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What Sossusvlei has to offer

In addition to the main dunes Big Daddy, Dune 45 and Elim, Sossusvlei is characterized by the salt pans Hidden Vlei, Dead Vlei and Nara Vlei. While the word Sossus can be translated as "river of no return", Vlei means "shallow lake". Like many other rivers, the Tsauchab eventually seeped into the sand and turned into an expanse of salt and clay. The pattern created by the cracks almost resembles a work of art. Every ten years or so, rainfall provides enough water to bring the lake back to life. For a few weeks, the desert also awakens, with waterfowl, springbok and antelopes visiting the area around the waterhole.

Dune landscape

One of three coastal deserts in the world, the Namib Desert stretches from Angola in the north to Namibia in the south. With a total length of 2,000 kilometers and an area of 95,000 square kilometers, it is impressive in size. The extreme climatic conditions are characteristic: Hot temperatures during the day, frost at night, years of drought, regular sandstorms and lots of fog are characteristic of the Namib Desert. The flora and fauna have learned to adapt accordingly.

Whether on guided hikes, jeep tours or quad bike rides - the landscape can be explored in many ways. The famous red sand dunes in particular, which are over 300 meters high, should be climbed on foot. Dune 45 in particular is easy to climb and promises a great perspective.

As soon as the sunrise seems to merge with the shimmering golden Namib Desert, it is time for a very special experience: a hot air balloon ride. From a bird's eye view, the impressive expanse of the landscape is revealed in all its glory. If you feel too nervous at this height in the open air, you can also opt for a sheltered flight in a helicopter or small plane.

Dead Vlei

When pyramid-like dunes line the road and dead camel thorn trees reach up to the sky, you have arrived at Dead Vlei. This is where the Tsauchab once ended, its jagged white soil providing a rich contrast to the golden-brown desert and the azure blue sky. After new dunes formed, the river took a different route and today's Dead Vlei was left behind. This fascinating area attracts curious visitors day after day by off-road vehicle.

Sesriem Canyon

The gorges of the Sesriem Canyon reveal millions of years old rock that drills up to thirty meters deep into the earth over a length of around one kilometer. This force of nature can be experienced up close via a path leading to the descent. While admiring the imposing rock faces, you can enjoy the coolness that emanates from the shady rocks.

Flora and fauna

Waterfowl, springbok and antelope are joined by a whole range of other animal species. Beetles, spiders, snakes, reptiles such as geckos and chameleons, desert foxes, ostriches, leopards, hyenas, mountain zebras and weaverbirds can be found around Sossusvlei.

Due to the extreme climate, robust vegetation has developed. The Welwitschie plant, which is found exclusively in Sossusvlei, consists of a single pair of leaves that can grow several meters long and live for up to ten years. It sticks out of the ground tall and flat. Pumpkin plants such as Nara melons, which serve as food for the animals, as well as camel thorn trees, which easily tolerate heat and frost, complete the Namibian plant world.

Accommodation in and around Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei offers a variety of accommodation options. Whether lodges, guest farms or self-catering accommodation - they all have one thing in common: the breathtaking backdrop of the coastal desert. A particularly pure feeling is created when camping. Numerous campsites in this area make adventurers' hearts beat faster.

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Luxury in the middle of the desert - the andBeyond shows how it can be done in an incomparable way. The extravagant design stands out at first glance. Ten luxurious suites with a lounge area and private pool as well as a modern, stylish and elegant interior await you in this exclusive accommodation. The glazed rain showers with a view of the desert are a highlight.

There is a small desert garden on the roof, from where you can admire the starry sky through a telescope. In addition to the restaurant, lounges and bars invite guests to socialize and enjoy culinary delights. Last but not least, a spa area rounds off the offerings at andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge perfectly.

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge Namibia Lage am Fuße der Bergkette

The perfect time to travel

As is typical of the desert, Sossusvlei is dry and warm to hot throughout the year. The months of December to April are considered the hottest months with an average of 26.5 degrees. In January and February in particular, temperatures often reach over forty degrees. From May to November it is quite pleasant with an average of 21 to 25 degrees. Only at night can it actually get cold enough to cause frost. Ideally, the end of the African summer season and the beginning of the winter season (April to June) are ideal for a trip. Those who are surprised by rain during the year can even count themselves lucky: This event, which only occurs every few years, is a special feature that fills the salt pans with water and brings some greenery to the desert landscape.

Please note: The opening hours of the Namib-Naukluft National Park depend on sunrise and sunset. When entering the park, you will receive daily updated information about the closing times.

Travelling in Sossusvlei

Berg bei Sonnenuntergang
Highlights of Namibia
Namibia Roundtrip | Duration: 14 days
  • Explore Namibia by off-road vehicle
  • Visit Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Damaraland
  • Safari adventure in Etosha National Park

from 3.500 € per Person plus flights

Giraffe wandert durch die Wüstenlandschaft
Exclusive Namibia round trip
Fly-in and self-drive combination | Duration: 17 days
  • Highlights of Namibia on one trip
  • Relaxed fly-in and adventurous self-drive experience
  • From the Atlantic Ocean to the desert landscapes of Namibia

from 13.500 € per Person plus flights

trockene Ebene mit Bergen im Hintergrund
From the Namib Desert to the Okavango Delta
Namibia and Botswana Round Trip | Duration: 14 days
  • Combination of self-drive and fly-in safari
  • The Atlantic Ocean and desert landscapes in Namibia
  • Exclusive safari in the Okavango Delta

from 4.900 € per Person plus flights

Lodges in Sossusvlei

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